In China, an Attempt at a Hollywood-Style Movie

From the New York Times:

The movie has ancient Greek warriors, pirates, underwater kingdoms, a villain called the Demon Mage and mermaids that kill men during sex. There is a sultry Bond girl, too, playing the mermaid queen. Most of the actors are American, and the cameras use 3-D technology.

But the movie, “Empires of the Deep,” is not another fantasy dreamed up by Hollywood. It is being conceived and shot here on the world’s largest studio set, north of Beijing.

This mash-up of “Avatar,” “Gladiator” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” all thrown together in a Chinese hot pot, is the vision of a film-obsessed real estate magnate, Jon Jiang, who says his life mission now is to make movies, video games and theme parks. It is also the boldest effort yet by businessmen here to establish China as a global moviemaking powerhouse, one that can create big-budget English-language spectacles to rival those of Hollywood.

China has been able to dominate one manufacturing industry after another but so far has not made significant inroads into the world’s most glamorous business. If Mr. Jiang, 40, has his way, that will soon change. “Empires of the Deep” could turn out to be a potent demonstration of China’s rising cultural influence and draw international filmmakers here to shoot movies that look and feel like Hollywood projects but that are made with the lower costs of Chinese labor and materials.



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